In Mental Illness, Men and Women Differ

A new study has discovered that differences between men and women can be found even among mental illnesses, with certain disorders being more common to specific genders.

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Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that men and women are likely to be diagnosed with different mental disorders and that, once diagnosed, they behave differently toward the people around them. "Lead author Nicholas R. Eaton analyzed data collected by a National Institutes of Health survey of 43,093 U.S. residents which examined their lifetime mental health." The study found that women were more often diagnosed with depression or anxiety while men more frequently battled substance abuse and antisocial disorders.

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Men and women also differed in how they reacted to mental illness. Women were more likely to internalize their emotions, which worsened symptoms of depression, while men more often externalized theirs, leading to aggressive and impulsive behavior. Effective treatment may also vary according to gender. "In women, treatment might focus on coping and cognitive skills to help prevent rumination from developing into clinically significant depression or anxiety," said Eaton. In men, the focus might be on shaping aggression into non-destructive behavior.

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